- Elevation: 2,600 m (8,530 ft)
- Prominence: 938 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province: Jawa Tengah (Central Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: The highest mountain in Dieng is Gunung Prau, also spelt ‘Prahu’ and ‘Perahu’.
- Eruptions: Dieng 1375, 1786, 1826, 1847 (Pakuwaja), 1883-84 (Kawah Sikidang), 1928 (Kawah Timbang), 1939 (Kawah Timbang), 1943-44 (Kawah Sileri), 1945 (Kawah Candradimuka), 1953-54, 1956 (Kawah Sileri), 1964 (Kawah Sileri), 1979 (Kawah Sinila), 1981 (Kawah Sikidang), 1984 (Kawah Sileri), 1986 (Kawah Sileri), 1993, 2003 (Kawah Sibanteng and Sileri), 2009 (Kawah Sibanteng and Sileri), 2011, 2017 (Kawah Sileri), 2018 (Kawah Sileri)
The Dieng Plateau is a huge volcanic complex near the pleasant town of Wonosobo. It is quite rightly one of Central Java’s leading tourist attractions and there are so many fascinating sites, both geological and historical, that it definitely makes sense to stay in Dieng village itself and properly explore the place. Colourful lakes, hissing and bubbling craters (‘kawah’) and numerous temples (‘candi’) are dotted all over the landscape.
The area was a very important Hindu site and eight ancient Hindu temples remain here today, the main cluster being the Arjuna complex just a couple of hundred metres from Dieng village. These are supposedly the oldest temples in Java, dating from the Kalingga Kingdom era of the 7th and 8th centuries and it is thought that there were up to 400 temples here originally.
Nowadays, the Plateau is an important site for geothermal plants and, if anything, the steaming chimneys in several locations make the panoramas even more dazzling and unusual to behold.
The most impressive craters are the busy and popular Kawah Sikidang, the atmospheric and ghostly Kawah Sileri (which erupted phreatically without warning in July 2017) and the somewhat bizarre bubbling and smoking Kawah Candradimuka.
Because Dieng village is at an elevation of about 2,070m, the area is in general quite damp, chilly and often misty. Good visibility is most likely in the morning, hence the need to start your hike before first light for the most impressive views.
In July 2018, temperatures reached as low as minus 2 degrees Celsius, and most years the region has a few nights of thin ice or frost during the dry season. Locals call this ’embun upas’, literally ‘lethal dew’ as it can destroy crops. But tourists flock to the temples at these times to get photographs of what are rare scenes in Java.
As the climate here is subtropical, the crops grown successfully here include a fair number of vegetables that are found in Europe. The list includes delicious potatoes, onions and cabbages, and also a few more unusual things including carica which is also known as mountain papaya and resembles tropical papaya but with small fruit that have paler flesh.
There are numerous peaks and craters in the area, the most interesting of which are as follows (clockwise from Dieng village, key mountains to explore on a hike are named in bold, key other attractions worth visiting underlined, all elevation data taken from relevant Bakosurtanal maps unless better data is available):
- Gunung Prau (2,600m) – the tallest peak in the area, with the most fantastic views but also very crowded at weekends.
- Gunung Igir Binem – no peak as such but a crater home to two crater lakes, Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon.
- Gunung Pakuwaja (2,390m) – the second highest mountain in the Dieng area but rarely hiked at present despite offering great views.
- Gunung Sikunir (2,275m) and Seroja (2,252m) – Sikunir is another great viewpoint and incredibly easy, requiring a hike of just 20-30 minutes, but as is also the case with Gunung Prau it can be overcrowded if you visit on a weekend.
- Gunung Bisma (2,365m) – increasingly popular, the third highest in the region and – like Gunung Pakuwaja – a great viewpoint and makes a great traverse.
- Gunung Rogojembangan (2,177m) – a considerable distance to the west of Dieng village, Rogojembangan is perhaps best accessed separately from the north coast via Pekalongan.
- Kawah Sinila, Kawah Candradimuka and Telaga Dringo – fascinating but sometimes dangerous craters and volcanic features surrounded by the rarely hiked tops of Gunung Petarangan (2,152m), Gunung Alang (2,240m) and Gunung Jimat (2,210m).
- Gunung Sipandu (2,240m) above the craters of Kawah Pagerkandang and Kawah Sileri – the former crater is a completely agricultural crater that few tourists even know about and the latter a little way below is an atmospheric lake with mist hovering over the water.
- Gunung Pangonan (2,308m) – an easy 30-40 minute hike to the 500m-wide savanna from Dieng Kulon, and not far from Kawah Sikidang and the Arjuna temple complex.
The most popular easy ‘hike’ in the area is to the top of Gunung Sikunir (2,265m according to the Bako map) for sunrise but, despite the great views of other volcanoes in Central Java, this is a very easy stroll of less than 30 minutes each way and most keen hikers will be left wanting more.
The highest mountain in the Dieng area is called Gunung Prau, presumably because it slightly resembles a boat (see also Tangkuban Perahu near Bandung, West Java). It towers directly above Dieng village and can be climbed without the need for additional transport. Because Dieng village is already very high up, it is a relatively short and easy hike to the peak (2,600m). The views are absolutely spectacular at dawn – perhaps Central Java’s very finest. When I first wrote about it in 2010 it was quite possible to find the summit ridge deserted even at weekends, but now in 2019 you will probably be one of more than a thousand people up there enjoying the grand scenery on a Sunday morning.
There are actually multiple routes up Gunung Prau – in 2019 there are no less than 8 official ones, seemingly all with basecamps! The main 3 at present are Dieng village itself (recommended for ascent due to it being a short stroll from most hotels and homestays), Patakbanteng – which is only about 4km back along the Wonosobo road from Dieng (not recommended as this is already too popular at weekends with many hundreds of local hikers queuing up), and Wates, a less popular but very pleasant trail from the south-east (recommended for descent if you want to ‘traverse’ the mountain and have time to negotiate transport from what is a rather remote village).
Other trailheads include Kalilembu and Dwarawati (both very close to Dieng village and Patakbanteng therefore only of merit if the Patakbanteng trail is just too crowded), Kenjuran and Campurejo (both north of Wates and therefore worthy of investigation for those wishing to get back to the north coast afterwards but currently not clearly-marked so a guide is probably essential) and finally Pranten, which is west of the mountain and would therefore be better combined with a traverse to Wates, Kenjuran or Campurejo (again, a guide probably essential for this). Dwi, who works at Bu Djono homestay and restaurant, is especially recommended for any hikes in the area.
At present, the recommended hike for those not wishing to return the same way is from Dieng village up to the summit ridge and then down to Wates (or Kenjuran or Campurejo if you can find an experienced guide). Hikers who have Indonesian language skills and have hiked plenty of mountains in Java previously can manage the trail from Dieng village to Wates without a guide (assuming good weather and/or use of GPS tracks – see resources) though it is not a good idea to trek alone. On weekends you are not likely to be too far from other hikers on any of the three main trails. The Dieng village to summit to Wates route is described below. It is best to set off from Dieng village at 3am with a torch so that you reach the summit ridge by around 5am ready to watch the sunrise.
From Dieng village, behind the Dieng Homestay follow the cement track up past the school (right) and graves (left). After less than 10 minutes you will have reached the new Dieng basecamp (2,123m) where you can register (Rp10,000 in 2019) and take photos of Dieng village below from the large red letters spelling ‘GUNUNG PRAU’. You can also buy simple snacks and basic clothing items. The track is well sign-posted and leads up through farmland (mostly potato fields) and into pine forest (Pos 1, Gemekan, 2224m – reached after just 20 minutes from the basecamp) where it begins to ascend more steeply. After under one hour you will have reached a border marker (2,395m), marking the end of one region (Wonosobo) and the beginning of another (Batang). This is now known as Pos 2 – Semendung and is where the less-used trail up from Dwarawati meets the main Dieng village trail.
From Pos 2 you should be able to see the radio transmitter mast (2,559m, known as ‘repeater’ on the little map available at Dieng basecamp) as even at night there is a bright light on the tower itself. Whereas a few years ago the trail went up to the transmitter mast compound and more regional marker stones (2,560m), it now skirts round to the right of the ‘repeater’ peak meaning you don’t have to ascend to the tower and descend again along the ridge towards the true summit. You can simply do the short cut like everybody else does now – indeed, it seems that the trail to the repeater tower has been deliberately closed as the hike has grown so massively in popularity in the last few years.
After less than 90 minutes total from Dieng village you should have reached Pos 3 – Nganjir (2,518m) which is the start of the lovely ridge walk. It is quite narrow at this point with great views on either side. This ridge is presumably the remnants of an ancient crater wall and the trail is very easy to follow. After 20 minutes of hiking along the ridge you will reach the first important ‘peak’ which is marked with a cement marker with 2,565m written on it. In actual fact, this first peak is approximately 2,585m above sea level but the 2,565 figure seems to be the preferred one for t-shirts, stickers and so on that you can buy at the basecamps! From this top you will get your first proper view along the ridge to the south-east beyond a few other higher bumps and clumps of trees to the huge twins Sindoro (nearest) and Sumbing (taller but further away).
After this first peak, the trail drops down into a daisy-filled meadow area reminiscent of many small European hills. Some locals actually refer to this area as Bukit Teletubbies (Teletubbies hill) and Bukit Rindu (Longing hill). The meadow area is home to occasional and impressive trees, both lone and in clumps. From this point on you will start to notice more and more tents as you get closer to the junction with the route up from Patakbanteng.
The highest point on the ridge (2,600m – possibly known as Gunung Patakbanteng locally, listed as 2,590m on the Bakosurtanal map) lies about 2 km along the ridge from the radio masts and, given how easy the trail is, can be reached in 2 hours total from Dieng village. It is basically just a bump on the ridge on the right side of a bowl-like dip of the meadow and interestingly it is unmarked though you may find a tent or two on it on weekends! From the true summit you will have a fabulous view down to Dieng village, Telaga Warna, Kawah Sikidang, back along the ridge to the ‘repeater’ tower and, most beautifully, Sumbing, Sindoro, plus Merbabu and Merapi in the distance to the left of Sumbing and Sindoro.
20 minutes further along the ridge over a series of slightly less high bumps is the junction with the Patakbanteng trail. This is the most popular camping spot and it is not unusual to have hundreds of tents here at weekends (meaning thousands of hikers!) The vast majority will have hiked up from Patakbanteng. The Dieng village route sees far less but still perhaps 100 or so. The Wates route might see 50 or so. The other routes see very few. You can see why this spot is popular – brilliant views of Sumbing and Sindoro.
From this junction, you have several options. Returning the same way to Dieng village takes about 2 hours. You can also make a small circuit by descending to Patakbanteng village (turn right at the tents) from where it an easy 4km along the road back to Dieng village (ojeks should be readily available). Better still, if the weather is clear making route-finding easy, traverse the mountain by descending to the small and remote highland village of Wates (1,683m).
To descend to Wates from the Patakbanteng junction (i.e where all the tents usually are) continue south-east down the ridge on the clearest path you can see in the direction of Sindoro and Sumbing. After less than 20 minutes you should have reached a tree with a red and silver ‘Wates’ sign on it. Soon after this the trail drops down to the left of the highest part of the ridge. You should have reached Pos 3 (Sudung Dewo, 2,253m) in about 45 minutes from the Patakbanteng camping area. You are back in forest now so listen out for birdlife. It is then another 20 minutes to Pos 2 (Cemarang, 2,122m) and a further 20 minutes to Pos 1 (Blumbang Kodok, 1,973m) which has a pond and is the end of the forest. From here it is about 30 minutes down an often slippery farm path passing cabbage and potato fields. There are usually friendly farm workers around if you need help but the trail is pretty well signposted. The Wates basecamp (1,683m) can be reached in about 2 hours total from the summit ridge, meaning a total hike of under 5 hours from Dieng (not incuding breaks for photos etc.) Assuming you set out from Dieng village at 3am and spent around an hour taking photos on the ridge you will probably be down here no later than 9am. Treat yourself to some coffee and meatballs from the friendly Ibu at the basecamp!
The boys at basecamp have been doing a lot of work trying to promote this route to the top of Gunung Prau on social media. It is indeed a proper hiking trail – requiring slightly more effort than the Dieng and Patakbanteng easy routes up. To ascend from Wates to the summit ridge would probably take around 4 hours including rests, but you can get an ojek to Pos 1 for Rp20,000 (in 2017). They are also trying to publicise Bukit Larikan, a minor hill with a wooden or bamboo structure at the top, seemingly offering good views too.
Getting back round to Wonosobo from here shouldn’t be too difficult but you will need ojeks from villagers or the lads at basecamp. If you don’t have private transport already arranged and are trying to head to the north coast at Pekalongan or similar, you will probably have to pay around Rp75,000 per ojek for a 45-minute motorbike ride down to Candiroto terminal where there are regular small buses to Sukorejo (Rp10,000, 40 minutes). This ride down from Wates is very scenic – beautiful farming country (mostly tobacco and a bit of chili peppers). From Sukorejo terminal there are more small and uncomfortable buses on to Pekalongan via Bawang and Limpung (Rp40,000, 2 and a half hours).
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (updated November 2020)
Gunung Igir Binem
Very few locals, let alone tourists, will have heard of this name but it’s the formal name for the large crater to the south of Dieng village that contains Telaga Warna (coloured lake) and Telaga Pengilon. The lakes are a pleasant place to take a stroll but foreign visitors should note the expensive entry fee of Rp100,000 (Rp150,000 on weekends and public holidays). If you just want a view of the lakes, it is recommended you head up to Batu Pandang Ratapan Angin viewpoint (Rp30,000 for foreigners or Rp10,000 for locals) near Dieng theatre instead where you can clamber up a few rocks to look over the lakes and to Dieng village and Gunung Prau.
Gunung Pakuwaja (2,390m)
Just to the south of Telaga Warna, the infrequently climbed mountain named Gunung Pakuwaja (also spelt Pakuwojo) is at 2,390m (as high as 2,399m according to GPS device) an important peak in the region and second only to the Prau ridge in height. Perhaps unsurprisingly it offers a great view early in the morning and you don’t have to share the hill with hundreds of others like is now the case on both Gunung Prau and Gunung Sikunir. There are very few trees so the view is open for most of the hike.
As with most of the peaks in the Dieng area, there are multiple routes up the hill from numerous different starting points. Without doubt, the best thing to do is a traverse from one side to the other. The most obvious traverse is from the road end beyond the Dieng Theatre and Batu Pandang near Telaga Warna, up to the summit and down to Sembungan. If doing it in that direction, allow about 2 hours to walk from Dieng village up to the peak and 1 hour down to Sembungan village where you should be able to find an ojek or other transport back to Dieng village.
At the end of the Batu Pandang road, continue on a muddy and occasionally boggy track as it skirts round to the left of Gunung Kendil (2,328m) which is essentially the northern peak of Pakuwaja but only the third highest. It is possible to hike up to the point from Desa Parikesit / Wadasputih to the north-east on the main road up from Wonosobo but it would take an extra half an hour as these villages are under 2,000m above sea level. There is a clear signpost for a Pakuwaja trailhead at the main road near Kings Hotel in Parikesit but it seems to not be popular compared to the trails up Prau on the other side of the road. You can also climb from further down at Tieng which is east of the mountain and under 1,900m.
After some geothermal pipes, drop down across potato fields and follow a farmers’ track up to the right to gain the ridge (2,260m) between Kendil and the higher slopes of Pakuwaja. Take a left here and as you finally get beyond the cultivated land and be prepared to get a little wet in the deep undergrowth.
A common site on Indonesian volcanoes, the vaccinium family Cantigi bush grows here and accordings to guides is a sign that volcanic activity is not dangerously high in the locality (otherwise it would have died). Sadly, the invasive Crocosmia / Montbretia plant also thrives here, which despite the nice orange flowers is a very difficult plant to get rid of in the UK, let alone the slightly warmer hill-tops of Dieng!
To the right, if you are lucky with the weather, you should be able to see the andesite pillar which allegedly gives Pakuwaja its name (‘paku’ means ‘nail’). This is best visited on your descent, so best stick to the ridge for now and continue to the grassy area which may have a simple sign informing you that you’re at the top of Dieng’s second highest hill.
There’s a slightly damaged summit pillar which is probably an old border marker of some sort, like the ones found on nearby Gunung Prau.
To the southwest of the summit is another top sufficiently separate enough to have its own name (Gunung Prambanan, 2,338m), and the ridge connecting the two is the favoured spot by local campers though it is quite likely you won’t meet any other groups. This ridge also alows some good views of the andesite pillar below and Gunung Bisma beyond.You may even see Gunung Slamet in the distance to the west and hopefully if the weather is good then Prau and Sindoro will both be clearly visible.
You will probably notice that the ridge with the pillar on divides what appears to be an old, marshy crater from another. It does indeed appear that there are at least two old craters here (smaller north-west and larger south-east) and on the way up you will probably have smelled sulphur from a side crater to the north, so like with much of this area there is still considerable activity beneath the surface here.
Retrace your steps and follow the ridge to the left with a cluster of Acacia trees growing on it. Veer left again to reach the base of the pillar itself (2,331m) which is probably around 25 metres tall. Head back to the junction and then southwest to the edge of the potato fields. From here it is easy to descend steeply to Sembungan village (2,117m) in about 30 minutes or just cut acorss to the nearby Sikunir Dieng Inn if you happen to be staying there.
Sembungan is allegedly the highest village in Java, and sits on the shores of yet another crater lake, Telaga Cebong.
An ojek back round to Dieng village (6km) should cost around Rp20,000 per person. If you do the hike in the opposite direction you may need to pay a little extra for ojeks if you want to start your hike at 4am or so. Best go with a guide if you are starting in the dark.
Gunung Sikunir (2,275m)
The popular, short hike up Gunung or Bukit Sikunir is best done for sunrise. The starting point, Sembungan, lies on the edge of a lake, Telaga Cebong, and at over 2,100m is said to be the highest village in all of Java. It takes about 20 minutes to reach by ojek from Dieng village (6 kilometres, around Rp30,000 per person during daylight). There are warungs and a carpark and at weekends the place will be full of mainly domestic tourists.
From there it’s just 20 minutes to the top of Gunung Sikunir on a very popular and well marked path, but it may take you longer if you get stuck behind a large group at weekends. You don’t really need a guide. The ‘golden sunrise’ is supposed to be particularly fine when viewed from Sikunir peak. 15 minutes or so after the golden sunrise on Sikunir, there is apparently a ‘silver sunrise’ at the Arjuna temple complex.
The stone trail up Sikunir has been ‘improved’ in recent years to catch up with the sheer volume of people on its slopes every weekend, to the extent that there are two prayer rooms on the mountain – one at 2,220m on a rare flat stretch of trail just below the summit area and one almost on the summit. The sunrise viewpoint (2,265m) has a small cement shelter and is where most hikers congregate, but it is worth having a look at the attractive rocks near the prayer room and the true summit (2,275m) which is much less popular and just 3 minutes to the north-east in what remains of forest on the top, overlooking Telaga Cebong and the car-park.
The peak of a very similar height just a few hundred metres to the south of Sikunir is the cultivated Gunung Seroja (2,252m) and is likely to be a good viewpoint as it overlooks the large lake to the south called Telaga Menjer which is a crater lake down at a much lower elevation of around 1,200m. It might be argued that Sikunir is actually simply the highest part of Seroja mountain which in total has three craters.
Gunung Bisma (2,365m)
A bit lower than Pakuwaja is the impressive-looking Gunung Bisma (2,359m on the Bako map, 2,365m according to other sources), also spelt Bismo, which lies a few kilometres west and forms the southern boundary of the plateau. It appears to be comprised of a huge crater wall that has been breached to the south-east in ancient times.
Gunung Bisma is a fabulous viewpoint and an excellent choice if you want to avoid the large crowds on Gunung Prau and can find a local person to take you to the top, though the trail on the Dieng side may be unclear unless it has been used recently.
There are at least three routes, but the best thing to do is to combine the easy route from a few kilometres out of Dieng village in Sikunang (around 2,064m) with the much lengthier and more challenging route up from the south (Silandak, Slukatan, 1,225m) via the southern ridge peak (2,331m). To combine these two makes for a brilliant ridge walk on a par with a full traverse of Gunung Prau, and starting on the Dieng side at Sikunang makes sense if you want to see the sunrise but don’t fancy camping as you can be at the top in just over one hour! In 2019, this trail is really more of a farmer’s track through potato fields and up onto the ridge, but it is highly likely there will be a basecamp and signs there before long.
Whilst the currently informal route from Sikunang is rarely used, has no signs or ticketing or basecamp, the Silandak route has all three and has in the last couple of years become very popular with local teenagers from Wonosobo and elsewhere in Central Java. On a Sunday morning you can expect to meet up to one hundred hikers on the southern end of the summit ridge (and perhaps around 5 or less at the northern end near Dieng!) This southern route requires 3-4 hours when hiking up with full camping gear, so assume around 2 hours for a descent that way with daypacks back to the Wonosobo area.
There are several peaks along the steep summit ridge as follows (from Sikunang in the north to Silandak in the south):
- First flag peak (2,347m on GPS). Great for views over Dieng.
- 2,368m peak which is just about flat enough for one or two small tents and has more vegetation.
- North summit peak (2,370m on GPS and probably the 2,359m spot height on the Bakosurtanal map) which appears to be the highest of all the peaks on the ridge. There are summit signs here including one reading ‘2365m via Pulosari’ in 2019.
- 2,367m peak which is another good vantage point and is near the junction (2,347m) for the less popular trail from Pulosari.
- South summit peak (2,331m on GPS and probably the 2,319m spot height on the Bakosurtanal map). This is perhaps the most popular of all the peaks along the ridge because it is the closest one to Silandak which is by far the most popular trail. In 2019, the sign here reads ‘Mt Bismo 2338m’. There is also a large rock and a grave with a small fence around it.
Allow around one hour from the ridge walk from the first peak near Sikunang to the south summit peak with the grave. After the south summit peak, the trail leads steeply down so real care is needed as the drop on the left side especially is very considerable. At 2,230m is a junction where you turn right if heading down to Silandak. Soon after this is a popular camping area with good views. This is Pos 4 (2,208m). It then gets even steeper, with vines to hold on to in the steepest places. Pos 3 – Sigandul – follows at 2,053m.
Pos 2 (1,804m) is another popular camp area as is named Hutan Pakis (‘fern forest’) due to the extraordinary number of ferns growing here and it is quite beautiful in the early morning sunlight. Pos 1 (1,563m) is called Perbatasan and marks the start or end of the forest. There is a newly-constructed shelter here with a roof which would be ideal for a rest during rain.
From here, the trail descends through crop fields with cabbage, chili and potato. On Sunday mornings, there is usually a long line of local ojek men with their motorbikes waiting at 1,500m for any weary hikers to take back down to the Silandak basecamp but it can be walked in 30 minutes or so. The highest reaches of Silandak are at 1,278m but the basecamp is a little further down at 1,225m. Ojeks are easy to find here and it takes about 20 minutes to get back to Wonosobo.
Gunung Bisma appears to have been named after a character, Bhishma, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata and is therefore likely to have had its name for many, many centuries. However it appears that as the peak has grown in popularity over the last few years the preferred spelling by hikers and the Silandak basecamp is Bismo with an ‘o’ at the end.
For a local guide for Gunung Bisma and many other Dieng peaks, give Taufik a call on +6281229075300.
Gunung Rogojembangan (2,177m)
About 25 kilometres west of the Dieng area is another significant peak called Gunung Rogojembangan. It is no longer active but appears to have been part of the original crater wall in ancient times. Despite being close to Dieng, it actually takes around 90 minutes to reach from there. Most hikers approach the area from the north coast at Pekalongan, which is just over 2 hours from the foot of the mountain. The region is very similar to Dieng, with similar crops and only slightly warmer night-time temperatures.
Gunung Rogojembangan is usually climbed from Gumelem (1,550m). Despite the already high elevation, it can take 2-3 hours to reach the peak as it is not very popular and the middle section of the trail is often overgrown with some bamboo sections (1,715m) requiring you to crawl under! From Gumelem, a brick path leads through farm fields before heading up to Jalan Simego (1,620m – an asphalt road) which is crossed. After this, the trail can be somewhat overgrown so unless a group has climbed it the same week it may require some patience! Pos 1 (Watu Cungur – 1,795m) is soon reached and not long after this the trail becomes clearer as you gain a pleasant forest ridge (1,925m). After Pos 2 (Giri Selo Gilang – 2,020m), the trail gets very steep indeed, with ropes required to help you pull yourself up tricky sections which are very slippery in wet weather.
Once at the top you will go past a deep hole with a fence around it. Locals who are familiar with the mountain can find water here but for ordinary hikers it is not advised as the hole is very deep. The summit, known as Puncak Raja, is a small grassy area above a small garden with what look like a couple of simple graves of unknown antiquity. There are a few pitcher plants on the higher slopes of the mountain. It takes most hikers just 1-2 hours to descend back to Gumelem.
Kawah Sinila, Kawah Candradimuka and Telaga Dringo
These are some of the more dangerous locations on Dieng Plateau and also some of the most interesting to visit, all near Pekasiran village. Telaga Dringo is a rathe pleasant but small crater lake. Lower down is Sinila crater. Sinila was the location of the 1979 tragedy in which 149 people died of gas poisoning in the nearby area. Afterwards villages here were abandoned. Just a few hundred metres to the east is Candradimuka which is a large pool of hot water and bubbling mud and the usual sulfurous emissions. In 2019, there is a sign warning of dangerous gas emissions here so please obey any such signs on your visit and keep whatever distance has been recommended.
There is also a well, Sumur Jalatunda, which is said to be around one hundred metres deep.
Kawah Pagerkandang and Kawah Sileri
Kawah Pagerkandang is a very obscure crater north of the main road between Dieng and Batur and is currently used entirely for agriculture. Aerial photos made by Oystein Lund Andersen in May 2019 reveal a truly beautiful scene of a near perfect crater entirely covered in vegetable fields, farmed to literally within a few inches of a fumarole! Perhaps there are some great vantage points of the scene from the rim that few people currently visit – ask in your hotel or local farmers.
Kawah Sileri is much more famous and considerable caution is advised as phreatic eruptions can occur with little to no notice (as has happened on a small number of occasions in recent years). This site is well signposted and is less than a ten minute drive west of Dieng village. The signs at the shelter overlooking the eerie crater lake suggest staying a minimum of 100 metres from the edge of the crater but you are likely to see farmers working the land almost down to the water’s edge! Sileri is best seen at late afternoon or dusk, with the ‘volcanic mist’ hovering and swirling just above the surface of the lake.
Kawah Sikidang and the Arjuna temple complex
Kawah Sikidang is probably the most visited crater on Dieng Plateau, due to its location close to Dieng village and its impressive bubbling mud pool which has water that ‘jumps’ like a ‘kidang/kijang’ (deer). There are many stalls here selling local potatoes, snacks, plants, sulphur (for your skin) and photos with and owl or two.
The main crater itself is only a few metres wide, but is continually bubbling and smoking away and in clear weather the view to the ancient crater wall of Gunung Prau is impressive from here.
Nearer to Dieng village is the famous Arjuna temple complex (the main cluster of temples on the Plateau) plus a museum (Kailasa) with information on flora and fauna and some ancient artefacts that are perhaps too precious to leave outdoors. There are two entrances to the temple complex and it is best to walk through from one side to the other and either walk back again or find an ‘ojek’ (informal motorbike taxi). From the centre of the complex it is a truly stunning scene with Gunung Prau as a backdrop.
If you have explored all the peaks and craters above and are still hungry for more you could do the very simple trek to the savanna below Gunung Pangonan (2,308m) which is close enough to Dieng village to be hiked directly from there and easy enough to accomplish in total in less than half a day. The 500m-wide savanna (part of the nature reserve named Cagar Alam Telogo Sumurup) is a pleasant spot, presumably once a crater, surrounded by forest presumably once an old crater wall, including the highest point. Gunung Pangonan actually forms the backdrop to Kawah Sikidang, and on the other side of the mountain (west of the peak) is yet another crater lake, Telaga Merdada which is apparently the largest lake on the Plateau.
Telaga Merdada can be seen from Pangonan summit ridge (2,257m) in clear weather, but most hikers here only visit the savanna itself below (2,157m) which is a straightforward trek that takes less than one hour and has several shelters on the route. The trail up the the summit ridge is marked at a junction just before the entrance to the savanna, but the true summit is overgrown and presumably very rarely visited by humans.
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- Getting there: Most people come to Dieng via Wonosobo from the south from either Yogyakarta or Purwokerto (from where there are frequent buses) and these are the easiest options. Those travelling from Jakarta are advised to get a train to Purwokerto then a bus up to Wonosobo (3 hours, Rp35,000). Then, take one of the many small buses plying the Wonosobo-Dieng-Batur route (1 hour, Rp20,000). The closest train station to Dieng is actually Weleri, Kendal, between Pekalongan and Semarang on the north coast. Unfortunately, only a handful of economy class trains stop here at present but it is hoped it will become a more important stop on the north coast main line in future. Note that in 2020, a military airbase called Sudirman Airport in Purbalingga is currently being renovated and will hopefully be open to the general public from 2021. This could make a weekend trip to Dieng from Jakarta much more efficient, time-wise. For now, Semarang and Yogyakarta airports are the closest. If you are feeling particularly adventurous the area can also be reached from the north if you take a bus from Pekalongan to Bawang (2 hours) and then an ojek (motocycle taxi) up into the hills as far south as you can (30 minutes). This northern route from Bawang to Dieng used to be passable but the bridge over the river was swept away many years ago. With due care, descend then cross the river on foot and rejoin the steep farm track at the other side of the river. The track ascends through farm plantation and soon you will be on a proper tarmac road again. There are plenty of villagers and farm workers in this area so you may be able to arrange another ojek to Dieng. If not, in total it is only 2 hours from the river to Dieng village itself and could well save you time if trying to reach the Plateau from the north. One other route in is from Banjarnegara to the southwest but given how windy the roads are and how unreliable the public transport is, this is perhaps for those with extra time or their own vehicle.
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Gunung Dieng information pack can be downloaded here.
- Trip planning assistance: Would you like Gunung Bagging to personally help you in arranging your whole trip? Please contact us here.
- Permits: Rp10,000 per hiker (in 2019) for Gunung Prau. Similar for Gunung Sikunir. Register at the relevant basecamp. All hiking trails usually closed January-March. Other hikes in the Dieng area tend to be obscure obscure enough not to have tickets or registration booths. As for craters, lakes and others sites, there are a variety of fees (mostly very reasonable). For Candi Arjuna (Arjuna temple complex) and Kawah Sikidang, one ticket including entry to both places costs Rp30,000 for foreigners or Rp15,000 for locals and KITAS/KITAP holders. Motorbike parking is typically Rp3,000 per site.
- Water sources: Take enough bottled water with you for any significant hike such as Gunung Prau – in most cases one large 1.5l Aqua per person should suffice unless you are camping and cooking up there.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
Dataran Dieng = The Plateau of the Great Gods. Dieng seems to be a modern contraction of the words da – hyang. In Old Javanese da (sometimes ra) is a kind of title in front of the name or title of someone of high rank, and hyang means “a god, goddess, deity”. So dahyang means “the great gods”. Compare this with the place name Parahyangan which is still in use today to denote the mountainous interior of West Java. Parahyangan consists of ra-hyang (the great gods) flanked by the prefix-suffix combination pa-an which signifies a place. So Parahyangan means “the place of the great gods”. (George Quinn, 2011)
Prau means ‘boat’ and refers to the shape of the actual mountain which looks like an upside-down boat (see also Tangkuban Parahu in West Java).
Links and References